Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus taught with power and authority. Today we acknowledge Christ’s power in our lives. We believe that Jesus frees us from all evil and from all divisions, that his authority comes from love and that it always will bring healing.

  • To the point: The people in the gospel twice responded to Jesus as one with authority: when he taught them and when he cast out the “unclean spirit.” What was this authority? Both in word and deed Jesus touched people in their need. The people were “astonished” and “amazed” because Jesus was saying and doing something new. He was revealing God’s very presence and life– he is “the Holy One of God” among them and among us.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Mark 1: 21-28) to the first reading: Moses was a prophet who spoke God’s word with authority; now Jesus is the One God raises up with authority– not just a prophet, but as the Holy One of God.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Thinking of evil in terms of demons and devils keeps us at arm’s length. The evil in our world that we must confront is more personal and immediate: violence, poverty, discrimination, etc.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Mark 1: 21-28)

The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them
as one having authority and not as the scribes.

Dear God, our hope is that you will amaze us;
win us with your words; spellbind us with your love.
And let us, with you, cast out unclean spirits
from this world: Human trafficking, gun violence,
homelessness, climate crisis, racial bias, poverty,
greed, war. Make the unclean spirits
obey you, in our small efforts.

The First Reading

(Deuteronomy 18: 15-20)

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin.

God, do you raise up prophets as in the time
of Moses? Let us find them all around
as you put your words into their mouths.
Let us listen. Let us hear.

The Second Reading

(1 Corinthians 7: 32-35)

Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties.

Lord of Peace, we want to love you only,
minus distractions, minus anxieties.
Give us peaceful souls and trusting hearts
this day and all our days,
free of distractions and anxieties.

Copyright © 2024, Anne M. Osdieck

For reflection